The new DreamBank occupies the beautifully restored historic American Exchange bank building. This 2,600-sq. ft. community-centered space celebrates the transformative power of dreams and was designed by award-winning strategic brand and design firm Chute Gerdeman.
The October 3rd opening of DreamBank also marked American Family Insurance’s 85th anniversary. “It’s fitting we open our innovative new store in our hometown, a block from where company founder Herman Wittwer first opened his doors for business 85 years ago today – the place where his dream began,” said Jack Salzwedel, chief executive officer.
Chute Gerdeman, the Columbus, OH-based firm that has also created such well-known experiences as M&M’s World in Times Square, designed DreamBank as a showcase for American Family Insurance’s focus on “dreams protected.”
At DreamBank, visitors will find interactive tools, events and experts on staff to help them discover their dreams, engage with their community and get the encouragement and resources they need to pursue and protect those dreams.
“We designed DreamBank as a place for people to identify their dreams and record them as well as bring like-minded dreamers together to offer support and to build successful sustainable communities,” said Mindi Trank, Chute Gerdeman’s VP, Brand and Consumer Strategy.
When visitors enter DreamBank, they can engage in the process using a video screen, instructional graphics, or have a Dream Curator guide them to the Discovery Dream Den, where they will take the first step toward identifying and realizing their dream. A large touch-screen digital wall guides visitors through American Family Insurance’s dream survey to help them discover what type of dreamers they are, and allows them to enter a statement about their dream. The Dream Den also features unique ways for people to visualize their dreams with a digital paintbrush and have their art emailed home, or see it displayed in electronic frames around the space. Overhead is a signature chandelier displaying hundreds of hanging keys, each representing a guest’s dream.
The bank’s former vault has been creatively re-imagined as a place to “deposit” a dream, along with a commitment to make that dream happen. Visitors walk through a five-step process, at the end of which they receive a Dream Ledger where they can record the steps in their own journey and receive two customized keys—one to take home and the other to deposit into the vault’s safety deposit box. The deposited key will join the others that proudly hang from the key chandelier in The Dream Den.
Throughout the space, visitors are delighted by messages tucked away in surprising places, including some of the old-fashioned safe deposit boxes, and even in the entry vestibule steps, where the message “Every step forward is a step toward achieving your dream” is displayed on the risers.
The store also features the comfortable Gathering Space, a centrally located natural hub of DreamBank; people gravitate to this meeting area to join the social and educational events that are presented regularly that cater to both business and general-interest goals. An oversized Community Calendar nearby keeps visitors inspired and up-to-date on future events.
The flagship also includes a model office, with American Family’s new office design, also developed by Chute Gerdeman. The model will be shared with American Family Insurance’s agents to provide guidance on their individual office formats.
About American Family Insurance
Based in Madison, Wis., American Family Insurance offers auto insurance, homeowners insurance, life insurance, health insurance, business and farm/ranch insurance in 19 states. American Family insurance is the nation's third-largest mutual property/ casualty insurance company and ranks 382nd on the Fortune 500 list. Web: www.amfam.com; Facebook: www.facebook.com/amfam; Twitter: www.twitter.com/amfam; YouTube: www.youtube.com/amfam
About Chute Gerdeman
Chute Gerdeman (CG) is an award-winning strategic brand and design firm. Founded in 1989 by visionary leaders Elle Chute and Denny Gerdeman, CG has grown into a multi-disciplinary brand experience company with a global presence. Known for creating unforgettable environments, compelling communications and innovative business strategies, CG connects client, customer and brand. Guided by consumer insights, creative innovation and proven results, CG delivers unique solutions that best communicate clients’ brand and spirit. The firm’s core capabilities include intelligence, brand, design and implementation with expertise across a wide range of retail, restaurant, service provider and CPG brands. The firm's client list includes: Bob Evans, C&A Brazil, Champs Sports, Checkers, Domino’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, Delaware North, Jimmy John’s, Kohl’s, M&M’S/Mars, T.J. Maxx and Target. With more than 175 awards, including four “Store of the Year” awards, the firm has become one of the most respected design firms in the industry.